“Building freight villages all over the country” is an important part of the 2023 transportation strategy of the Turkish government. Since villages are mainly for the integration of railway transportation with other logistic system, TCDD has undertaken the construction of 16 of the freight villages. There are some other villages, 2 of which will be build by Istanbul Municipality and one other has already built by Manisa Industrial Region.
As announced in TCDD’s website, all TCDD villages will have railway connections, container yards, bounded areas & warehouses, parking lots, banks, restaurants & fuel stations. Of course all these are surely welcome. But enough? Can these cause a major shift of logistics to freight villages? They surely need more than that. Here are the 10 must-haves of freight villages:
Not frequently mentioned, but a centralized management in village is essential. This management must provide clear information about village, be contact & supporter for new projects, analyze new requests to prepare future plans and deal with problems especially where coordination between different units or public authorities is needed. German freight villages (GVZ) are good examples. MOS Logistics (Manisa) is a good and maybe the only example in Turkey.
Customs office is of course a must. But not enough. Customs office working hours must fit the needs of that area, in parallel with the terminal services. Furthermore, there must be closed and open areas with “temporary storage area” status, which provides speed and flexibility for handling operations. Additionally, customs office must be the only, at least favorite one in region so that major companies and customs agencies prefer working there.
Railway connected warehouse
Railway connection to villages is already planned. However, a rapid huge shift to trains is only be possible if loads are kept in railway connected warehouses. It must be kept in mind that being close doesn’t mean “connected”.
You can hear many complaints about Halkali, the biggest and most-used railway terminal. Lots of delays happen because of insufficient rail lines for parking, loading/unloading, even moving. Companies pay a lot to crane companies, customs and personnel for delays. Villages need to have enough lines, space and equipment as well as good planning of usage of them.
Everybody hates “unknown”s. Villages must have clear open announced working hours for every service, procedures including the service level agreements. Accessibility of these procedures as well as the tariffs of standard terminal services is essential. The services of German freight villages in DGG website is a good example of this. Despite millions of euros invested in freight villages until now, not being able to find any clear information nor contact about freight villages of Turkey except the newspapers shows how essential information portals are.
Handling in freight villages is generally limited with standard container and palette handling. A crane system for containers is worth a lot, especially in terms of cost, speed and area usage. However, there must be handling availability especially for the goods that railway is unrivaled, like bulk goods, coils, paper, pipes. Finished vehicles, chemicals, tires, heavy machines can also be good customers of villages. For that, village must provide needed handling services with special equipments and separate areas as well as necessary qualified staff. A covered area, for example, enables continues service even in heavy weather.
Trucking services are generally organized by unions in logistic centers in Turkey. Unions means –generally- extensive permanent truck supply, none of the logistic companies can provide. However it also means monopoly which easily ends up with a stand-still service. A competition must be guaranteed. Contracts with unions/truck companies for a time of period may also work. This contract must cover service quality levels, tariffs and range and number of vehicles to be used.
Logistic services are shaped by the biggest existing industries in that area. Big industries cannot move easily, so freight villages must be connected with them. Best way is to have a railway connection with them. That volume will provide freight village enough volume for efficiency from the beginning. It’s essential to keep in mind: Being close does not mean being connected.
Half of the international cargo traffic to/from Turkey is done by sea, and freight villages must attract a portion of that. Organization of cheap, rapid and regular connections to nearest port from freight village is another must. MOS and Bogazkopru are one step ahead with already established regular railway traffic.
Today, almost none of the logistic companies settled at terminals, only have little offices, mostly at cabines. Not only the warehouses, but also the logistic offices should better be located in freight villages. Offices for rent, public transport to city center, banks, restaurants and parking lots are prerequisites for being a real logistic center.
Cover Photo: MOS Logistics ©